She doesn’t get out much, the Tower Princess. Could be she has three wee bairns, all nursing at once. Or it’s a lack of funds holding her back–her husband is an experimental jeweler, or maybe an organ tuner. There’s a past she’s turned her back on, a history of addiction, breakdown or loss. There might also be a touch of agoraphobia. Certainly, she’s quiet at a party, finds nothing to say to those with degrees, careers, therapists, Caribbean vacations, hot yoga classes.
But just get her alone. Better yet: visit her at home. There will be muesli with warm almond-milk for breakfast, organic leek-and-asparagus quiche for lunch. Dinner is Marrakesh chick peas with stone slab-baked bread. Her house is small but impeccably clean. A closer inspection of the chic, cubist fibre-art wall hanging in the dining room reveals wedding lace and motorcycle chaps: the piece turns out to be quilted together from her family’s milestone clothing and memorabilia. Her children’s art is framed with hewn bark, twisted willow twigs from the park. All the furniture is 70s vintage, all the dishes mismatched floral china.
Do you like the Tower Princess? You love her. She’s witty and generous and so stylish that her DIY boy-haircut, felted sweater and rubber boots make you feel simultaneously frumpy and overdressed. There’s a romance to the curated warmth of her space, an allure to her fragility and resoluteness.
What you want most is to be like her, but without her limitations. Tomorrow, of course, you’ll dump the kids at daycare and breathe a sigh of relief over your latte. But today, after your visit to the Princess, you might come home and hang ribbons from your son’s window-frame, or bake a carrot cake. Maybe, thanks to her influence, you’ll even be inspired to get out the bread machine.